Sales soar to £1m during retailer’s
Sourced Locally Fortnight initiative

Suffolk New College Test Event.jpg

The East of England Co-op is celebrating after a record-breaking Sourced Locally Fortnight campaign.

Sales of local produce reached more than £1million in just two weeks – up from the total of £999,000 achieved last year.

The initiative, which encourages customers to swap products in their basket for local alternatives, ran from June 1-15 across food stores in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive at the East of England Co-op, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have exceeded the £1million mark for the 2019 Sourced Locally Fortnight campaign.

“We are so fortunate to have delicious, fresh produce on our doorsteps and this campaign has truly celebrated the journey from field and farm to fork.

“It has been incredible to see our loyal customers make a real effort to support our local producers during Sourced Locally Fortnight.”

Throughout the campaign, nearly 57,000 punnets of strawberries, over 11,000 punnets of raspberries, almost 10,000 packs of sandwich ham trim and almost 600 bottles of Adnams Copper House gin were sold.

There were also almost 5,000 Taste of Suffolk breakfast packs sold during the fortnight, which consisted of locally sourced sausages, bacon and burgers with a free pack of four Havensfield eggs.

The 2019 campaign kicked off with a food and wine pairing event at Toppesfield Vineyard – one of the East of England Co-op’s English wine suppliers - toasting the variety of local suppliers.

Toppesfield Vineyard is one of more than 100 local producers who supply East of England Co-op stores across the region and had their brands promoted throughout the fortnight.

Thousands of products were available, ranging from fruit and vegetables, jams and chutneys, to meats, fish, pies, fruit juices and wines.

An All-Day Breakfast Roadshow toured Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex allowing members of the public the chance to taste locally sourced bacon, eggs, sausages and burgers from the breakfast pack – during which more than 3,000 breakfast baps in 10 locations were given away.

In addition, three special events were held across the three counties.

In Ipswich, students from Suffolk New College took part in a ‘Masterchef-style’ invention test using locally sourced products.

The winning duo, Ethan Overett and Hannah Wright, who are studying for a professional chef qualification, created a potato and bacon rosti layered with brie, a poached egg and crispy bacon.

Judges for the event included Vernon Blackmore, whose company Choose Spice, is an East of England Co-op producer and Chef and Sharon Harkin, Community Engagement Manager at the East of England Co-op. They were joined by Alan Pease, Deputy Principal of Suffolk New College, Charlotte Smith-Jarvis, food editor at Archant, and Peter Gwizdala, Director at Arlingtons.

Their dish will be featured on the menu at The Crown in Woodbridge for a week.

Mr Blackmore said: “We were looking for the most innovative use of the ingredients as well as the presentation and taste. The work of the winners blew us away. It was fun and different, and it stood out.”

Other dishes created included a sausage and egg donut burger with tomato jam, a mustard scotch egg with mustard mayo and a fennel, sausage, tomato and mozzarella pie with white onion puree. 

At Norwich Train Station, the East of England Co-op gave away free burgers while the crowds were entertained by Invidia Voices – a rock, pop and soul choir who recently performed with Take That at Carrow Road.

In Colchester, there was a competition which saw participants eat as many sausages as they could in one minute and free sausage butties were given away.

Roger added: “Local produce not only benefits our local economy and reduces our food miles, but it is also absolutely delicious.

“We are proud to have run the Sourced Locally initiative for the past 12 years, shining a light on the fantastic produce created here in East Anglia.”

The award-winning Sourced Locally Scheme has generated millions of pounds for the region since 2007, helping to create and protect hundreds of local jobs.

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